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UPSC Online News Analysis


1)  News

Context: HelpAge India(working for ‘the cause and care of disadvantaged older persons to improve their quality of life’ for over four decades)has beenpresented the UN Population Award for 2020 (institutional category), according to a release issued byUNFPA.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – International organisations

About UNFPA:

  • UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.
  • UNFPA calls for the realization of reproductive rights for all and supports access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services – including voluntary family planning, maternal health care and comprehensive sexuality education.
  • UNFPA is formally named the United Nations Population Fund. The organization was created in 1969, the same year the United Nations General Assembly declared “parents have the exclusive right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.”
  • Its headquarter is in New York, USA
  • UNFPA Supports:
    • Reproductive health care for women and youth in more than 150 countries – which are home to more than 80 per cent of the world’s population
    • The health of pregnant women, especially the 1 million who face life-threatening complications each month
    • Reliable access to modern contraceptives sufficient to benefit 20 million women a year
    • Training of thousands of health workers to help ensure at least 90 per cent of all childbirths are supervised by skilled attendants
    • Prevention of gender-based violence, which affects 1 in 3 women
    • Abandonment of female genital mutilation, which harms 3 million girls annually
    • Prevention of teen pregnancies, complications of which are the leading cause of death for girls 15-19 years old.
    • Efforts to end child marriage, which could affect an estimated 70 million girls over the next 5 years
    • Delivery of safe birth supplies, dignity kits and other life-saving materials to survivors of conflict and natural disaster
    • Censuses, data collection and analyses, which are essential for development planning

2)  News

Context: The authorities in easternAssam’s Dibrugarh districthave undertaken a drive tovaccinate livestock aroundthe Joypur rainforest afteranthrax was confirmed asthe cause of the death of twofemale elephants a week ago.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Science & technology, Environment & ecology

What is Anthrax?

  • Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis.
  • Anthrax can be found naturally in soil and commonly affects domestic and wild animals around the world.
  • People can get sick with anthrax if they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products.
  • Contact with anthrax can cause severe illness in both humans and animals.
  • Anthrax is not contagious, which means you can’t catch it like the cold or flu.
  • Domestic and wild animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, antelope, and deer can become infected when they breathe in or ingest spores in contaminated soil, plants, or water. In areas where domestic animals have had anthrax in the past, routine vaccination can help prevent outbreaks.
  • People get infected with anthrax when spores get into the body. When anthrax spores get inside the body, they can be “activated.”
  • When they become active, the bacteria can multiply, spread out in the body, produce toxins (poisons), and cause severe illness.

3)  News

Context: Morocco has become thefourth Arab nation this yearto recognise Israel, U.S. President Donald Trump announced Thursday, as he, inturn, fulfilled a decade­oldgoal of Morocco by backingits sovereignty in disputedWestern Sahara.

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Places in news | Mains – IR (GS-2)

Morocco geographical location:

4)  News

Context: Over 75 per cent districts in India, home to more than 63.8 crore people, are hotspots of extreme climate events such as cyclones, floods, droughts, heat and cold waves, according to a study released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Geography | Mains – Disaster management (GS-3)

What is Microclimatic zones shifting?

  • Microclimatic zones, or areas where the weather is different from surrounding areas, are shifting across various districts of India, the study has found.
  • A shift in microclimate zones may lead to severe disruptions across sectors – every 2 degrees C rise in annual mean temperature will reduce agricultural productivity by 15-20%, it has found.
  • Some reasons identified behind this shift in microclimatic zones is change in land-use patterns, disappearing wetlands and natural ecosystems by encroachment, and urban heat islands that traps heat locally.

Important data to be used in answers:

  • The CEEW study found that in the last 50 years, the frequency of flood events increased almost eight times. Events associated with floods such as landslides, heavy rainfall, hailstorms, thunderstorms, and cloudbursts increased by over 20 times.
  • The frequency, intensity, and unpredictability of these extreme events have risen in recent decades – while India witnessed 250 extreme climate events in 35 years between 1970 and 2005, it recorded 310 such weather events in only 15 years since then, the study has pointed out.
  • The frequency of floods surged significantly in the last two decades, it was found. Between 1970 and 2004, three extreme flood events occurred per year on an average, but after 2005, the yearly average rose to 11.
  • The annual average for districts affected until 2005 was 19, but after 2005, on average 55 districts were affected by floods each year.
  • In 2019, India witnessed 16 extreme flood events, which affected 151 districts. The study found that over 9.7 crore people are currently exposed to extreme floods in India.

Examples related to Ethics (GS-4)

  • Lawsuits could force Facebookto sell Instagram, WhatsApp – The twin lawsuits filed accuse Facebook of buying up rivals, focusing specifically on its acquisitions of photo sharingapp Instagram for $1 billionin 2012 and messaging appWhatsApp for $19 billion in2014. (Against fair competition which is an unethical corporate practice) (related to economy topic as well)
  • Trupti Desai detaineden route to ShirdiShe planned toremove ‘dresscode’ boards putup outside temple – Ms. Desai had criticisedboards allegedly put up bythe temple trust outside thepremises, urging devoteesto be dressed in a “civilised”manner as per “Indian culture”. She had announced
    her intention to go to Shirdiand pull down the boardswith the “contentious” messages on December 10.  (Ethical dilemma between religious values & freedom of choice of clothes | Moral policing etc. | Case study)
  • Antitrust body, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), on Wednesday raided the offices of top cement manufacturing companies, including UltraTech Cement, Shree Cement, Ambuja Cement, ACC, Dalmia Cement, and Rockstrong Cement, over allegations of price coordination and collaborating levels of cement supply. (Against corporate ethics &fair business practices)

Important news in short

  • China on Thursday said “theresponsibility totally lieswith the Indian side” for thesituation along the Line ofActual Control (LAC), responding to External AffairsMinister S. Jaishankar’s statement that China had violatedborder agreements by deploying a large number ofsoldiers along the border.
  • India and Nepal have decided to launch an air bubblearrangement for restartingcommercial flights, aftermonths of disruptioncaused by the pandemic.
  • A set of Indian government securities (G-secs) are expected to be included in global bond indices that would provide a stable source of funding and increase liquidity for the debt markets. The Union Budget 2020-21 had proposed to remove limit on foreign investment in some government securities, as a first step towards their inclusion in global bond indices. The Reserve Bank of India had on March 30 notified a fully accessible route for investment by non-residents in government securities without any ceilings.
  • The ‘India Workplace Equality Index’, touted as the country’s first comprehensive benchmarking tool for employers to measure their progress on LGBT+ inclusion at the workplace, was launched on Thursday with its first report virtually announcing winners from among 65 companies which shared data on their diversity and inclusion practices.
  • New parliament features:

(Former president Pranab Mukharji once said India needs at least 1000 MPs to represent the vast Indian population but the new parliament is not going provide such capacity. Indirectly this is ending the debate of having more MPs.)

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